How to Crush the 2021 Holiday Shopping Season

Black Friday and Cyber Monday represent two of the biggest worldwide shopping days each year. Taking place on the Friday and Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday, these two days mark major marketing opportunities for brands and advertisers alike. This year, coupled with the ongoing pandemic and major supply chain disruptions, there has been a push to get holiday shopping taken care of early as possible.

Black Friday sales in 2021 are expected to rise 22.9% year over year to $10.96 billion. This number will capture around 5.3% of total holiday retail eCommerce sales, according to eMarketer. While some things about this year’s holiday shopping season may look familiar, there is going to be a lot that does not. 

Today we’ll dive into what Black Friday and Cyber Monday may look like, what platforms are going to play a major role, and how to engage your customers for a successful holiday marketing season.

How is this year different?

The 2020 holiday shopping season was characterized by stay-at-home orders, economic uncertainty, and families coming to terms with the fact that they would be separated from their loved ones for the holidays. 

The combination of the above led consumers to purchase primarily online for the holiday season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday specifically have historically taken place in person at brick and mortar shops (que long lines and stampedes) and the shift to shopping solely online last year took a toll on holiday sales. 

While this year may not look totally “normal” it will certainly be taking a step in that direction. We’re certainly going to see some people stick to online shopping exclusively, but some will employ a mix of the two. A recent Shopkick survey found that around 43% of consumers (almost half) are planning to do most of their holiday shopping in-store this year, meaning that marketers need to appeal to both in-person and online shoppers alike.

Effectively engaging shoppers

As we mentioned above, not all shoppers are planning to shop in the same way this holiday season so it is imperative that marketers enact campaigns to reach both in-store and online shoppers. This holiday shopping season is going to call for new marketing strategies, creative campaigns, and experiences that allow brands to stand out among their competitors.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Deals, deals, deals

This one should come as no surprise, as the name of the holiday game is DISCOUNTS. Deal days bring in a significant amount of shoppers and Black Friday and Cyber Monday are known as being some of the biggest deal days each year. While the younger generations don’t like to be sold to, they are certainly suckers for a good deal. The Shopkick survey mentioned above noted that 76% of Gen Z and 66% of millennials are planning to shop on Black Friday compared to 61% of Gen X, 53% of baby boomers, and 43% of the silent generation. 

So, ensuring that you have deals that appeal to both the in-person and online shopper is going to be key, you don’t want to alienate either party. In addition, cater your deals to the younger generations, make them fun, easy to access and above all help lead your customers through the buying process. 

Meet your customers where they are

Social media platforms have gone through big shifts over the past few years and with the rise of short form videos there are even more opportunities to reach your target audience. If you’re looking to get the word out to a younger audience you’ll want to ramp up your TikTok game. This would be a great time to launch your TikTok account (if you haven’t already) and get the word out about your holiday deals. If you are wanting to reach a bit older of an audience, Instagram and YouTube are the places to be. You may have customers in multiple places, be sure not to leave anyone out and tailor your messaging to the particular platform and audience to maximize your communications.

Influencers will be key

We can’t stress this enough. Influencers will be VITAL to making this holiday shopping season a successful one. In our recent article, Five Ways Brands can Leverage Influencers this Holiday Season, we discuss our favorite ways to leverage influencers for this hectic season. 

Pay attention to what’s trending

Lastly, it’s going to be important to keep an eye on trending topics, activities, and items. There are always going to be hot topic items that are sure to fly off the shelves during the holiday shopping season. With the past few years being shadowed by uncertainty consumers are looking to get back to their lives and their holiday shopping habits will reflect this.

Here are a few topics/items we think will be hot this year:


The last few years saw record numbers of wedding postponements which means the coming year (or two) will be packed full of weddings. Brides, wedding parties, and guests alike will be searching high and low for wedding apparel. There is a budding community of wedding content creators on TikTok looking to share tips and suggestions with brides and guests, find some that speak to your brand and create meaningful partnerships around this topic.


Similarly people are looking to get back into traveling. Airlines, baggage brands, and travel experience companies should be capitalizing on this and offering deals during the holiday season to travelers. Working with travel or budget content creators will be key here.

TikTok Trends

The new age consumer looks to TikTok for inspiration and influence on what’s popular. We know that tiktok has the ability to sell out items so this is truly the time to build meaningful relationships with TikTok creators and get them moving on your holiday campaigns. 

We’re here to help

We know the holiday season can be hectic, with many moving parts. Hit us up at if you are interested in activating around Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday, we’ve got ideas ready to go!